REVIEW: Winds Of Plague – Against The World

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Artist: Winds Of Plague
Album: Against The World
Genre: Deathcore
Label: Century Media

If there’s one thing Winds Of Plague do well, it is be Winds Of Plague. I know this may seem like a terribly redundant statement, but anyone familiar with the band’s catalog will understand exactly what I mean. Though they’ve only released two albums, WOP’s take on deathcore has already become a genre defining sound (that is hard to describe without using words like “brutal,” “heavy,” and “epic”) and placed them amongst the ranks of underground metal’s finest. The group’s latest, Against The World, builds on this progress, but also throws in plenty of curveballs to keep listeners on their toes.

Kicking things off as only they can, Winds Of Plague begin Against The World with the eerie then crushing “Raise The Dead.” A chorus of the creepiest sounding children you’ve ever heard come in to greet you before an anthemic chant comes in full force to introduce you to the record. This leads into the strongest first half of a metal album I’ve heard this year with “One For The Butcher” and “Drop The Match” bringing the heavy early and fast. In fact, I think the breakdown on “Drop The Match” may be the deepest, heaviest moment on any WOP record to date (my ears felt like they were bleeding when they performed this song live).

After the album’s single, “Refined In The Fire,” caps off the album opening half, we quickly hit the wall all evolutionary albums have – awkward moments. You see, one of the biggest complaints I’ve found when talking to metal fans about WOP is the similarity of all their songs. Many believe they’re a “one track band,” but Against The World makes it a point to prove these naysayers wrong and the process of doing so causes some unevenness to the record. This isn’t to say this material is worse than older WOP, but it is different and that change is will leave some scratching their heads and thus, create an awkward moment.

There are three awkward moments on the latter half of Against The World that have still yet to sit well with me or the rest of the staff. For starters, the Ultimate Warrior narrated interlude (“The Warrior’s Code”) serves seemingly no purpose other than to build atmosphere, which doesn’t happen due to Ultimate Warrior’s absolutely ridiculous voice. What is meant to sound like a worn soldier speaking with a lifetime of blood and battle on his mind comes across like a deleted monologue from Xena: Warrior Princess. Luckily, this ludicrousness is hushed with the absolute onslaught that is “Against The World” and “Monsters,” which may just be the band’s strongest song to date.

From here we hit the roughest part of this album to listen – the end. While “Most Hated” and “Strength To Dominate” bring the heavy quite well, we’re still scratching our heads over “California” and the album’s closer, “Zombie.” For starters, “California” feels like a song that WOP simply got carried away with while recording. What probably started out as a new age anthem for their homestate somehow evolved into a bad take on 80’s metal that is hard to not chuckle at. It’s not the song itself is bad, but the absurd spoken word intro will most likely induce laughter before fans ever hear the musicianship. In a similar way, “Zombie” has all the makings of a great Winds Of Plague song, until the vocals begin. I don’t even know how to describe what happens here, but it is an absurd mixture of clean vocals and screams that comes across messy and leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth and no remaining tracks to pick up the slack.

When the smoke clears and the bodies have been hauled out of the pit, Winds Of Plague once again stand victorious in the metal world. Against The World is the band’s most ambitious effort to date and while the results are a bit mixed in places, the overall product is an undeniably heavy and complex juggernaut of sound that asks, no, DEMANDS you bow in honor. If you’re ready to have your skull crushed from an avalanche of metal brutality, buy this album.. For those who love heavy, this is a must own.

Score: 8/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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